Reducing the number of Indigenous children in care
The Government of Canada is working with partners to reduce the number of Indigenous children and youth in care and to improve Indigenous child and family services. We are making progress on the 6 points of action, including engaging with Indigenous partners on the co-development of potential federal legislation on Indigenous child and family services.
Indigenous children in foster care
In Canada, 52.2% of children in foster care are Indigenous, but account for only 7.7% of the child population according to Census 2016. This means 14,970 out of 28,665 foster children in private homes under the age of 15 are Indigenous.
Results from the 2011 National Household Survey also show that 38% of Indigenous children in Canada live in poverty, compared to 7% for non-Indigenous children.
Co-developed federal legislation on Indigenous child and family services
Throughout the summer and fall of 2018, Indigenous Services Canada has been engaging with national, regional and community organizations representing First Nations, Inuit and the Métis National Council, as well as Treaty Nations, self-governing First Nations, provinces and territories, experts and people with lived experience, including Elders, youth and women. Over 65 engagement sessions were held across the country, with nearly 2000 participants.
On November 30, 2018, Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott, together with Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed, and Métis National Council President Clément Chartier, announced that the Government of Canada will move forward with co-developed federal legislation on Indigenous child and family services.
Description of Toward legislation: timeline
Toward legislation: timeline
- December 2015: Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls for Indigenous child welfare legislation
- Fall 2016 and winter 2017: Ministerial special representative engages with Indigenous partners on reforming First Nations Child and Family Services program
- September 2017: Summary report from engagement published
- January 2018: Emergency meeting on child and families services: Government commits to 6 points of action including potential co-developed legislation
- Summer and fall 2018: Engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners on options for potential co-developed federal legislation on Indigenous child and family services
- November 2018: Government of Canada, First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation leaders, announce co-development of legislation
- Since summer 2018, 65 engagement sessions were held across the country with nearly 2,000 participants
Progress on 6 points of action
In January 2018, the Government of Canada committed to 6 points of action to address the over-representation of Indigenous children and youth in care in Canada.
Continuing the work to fully implement all orders of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, and reforming child and family services including moving to a flexible funding model
Shifting the programming focus to prevention and early intervention
Supporting communities to exercise jurisdiction and explore the potential for co-developed federal child and family services legislation
Accelerating the work of trilateral and technical tables that are in place across the country
Supporting Inuit and Métis Nation leadership to advance culturally-appropriate reform
Developing a data and reporting strategy with provinces, territories and Indigenous partners
Emergency meeting on child and family services
On January 25 and 26, 2018, Indigenous Services Canada hosted a two-day emergency meeting with national and regional Indigenous leaders, as well as federal, provincial and territorial governments, youth and Elders, to discuss the key causes of the high rates of Indigenous children in care and how to work together towards systemic reform of child and family services.
- Indigenous Services Canada key priority: Children and families together
- First Nation Child and Family Services Program
- Improving child and family services in First Nations communities: Engagement 2016-2017
- Delivering on Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action: Child welfare
- First Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework